'Two Hacks': Museum's Deaccessioned 'Copy' of Stubbs Painting Is Authenticated, and Offered at BADA

George Stubbs, Two Hacks, the property of Henry Ulrick Reay Esq of Burn Hall Co.  Durham and their blue-liveried groom in a landscape.
George Stubbs, Two Hacks, the property of Henry Ulrick Reay Esq of Burn Hall Co. Durham and their blue-liveried groom in a landscape.
(The Parker Gallery)

An 18th-century George Stubbs painting that was mistakenly believed to be a copy is on sale by The Parker Gallery at BADA 2017 this week in London.

Entitled Two Hacks, the property of Henry Ulrick Reay Esq of Burn Hall Co. Durham and their blue-liveried groom in a landscape, the painting’s authenticity was uncovered earlier this year by The Parker Gallery. The work had gone on sale at Christie's in New York having been deaccessioned by The Huntington Library in California, who had incorrectly catalogued the oil painting as a copy after Stubbs.

The painting is signed in the lower right hand corner and is dated 1789. The date puts it a year ahead of another version by the artist in a private collection. The primacy of The Parker Gallery’s Stubbs is shown by the presence of pentimenti - notably the nearside hind leg of the leading horse, the position of which has been altered by the artist by about 1cm to the right. The original position is visible in outline under the painting of the grass.

After the sale, Dr Bendor Grosvenor of the BBC's Fake or Fortune, said: “it's one of the biggest deaccessioning blunders of modern times.” 

Archie Parker of The Parker Gallery, said: "I'm very excited to show this rediscovered work at BADA 2017. For a long time it has been hidden in a dark store thought to be a copy. This discovery shows that even the major auction houses can make mistakes."

Marco Forgione, CEO of BADA, said: “We are extremely excited to have this brilliant find on show at BADA 2017 this week. The newly discovered Stubbs will be a welcome addition to the many exceptional objects of fine art, antiques and design on display.”

From 15–21 March, BADA 2017 welcomes 100 specialist exhibitors from across the UK and offers the general public, collectors, curators, art professionals and interior designers the chance to view and purchase outstanding pieces of traditional, modern and contemporary art, design and antiques.

Other highlights of the 25th anniversary edition of the fair include specialist antique jeweller Sandra Cronan’s bugs and butterflies display; a first edition of Cecil Beaton’s The Book of Beauty (1930) with a dedication to fellow aesthete Sacheverell Sitwell; an abstract drawing by Andy Warhol; and a rare chronometer carriage clock.

Alongside these are an unrivalled selection of painting and furniture, as well as sculpture, glass, metalware and ceramics. In a new approach, some dealers are displaying diverse mixes of objects, with West African tribal pieces sitting alongside European and Asian antiquities.

Every object on display at BADA 2017 has been carefully vetted for quality and authenticity by BADA’s specialist Vetting Committee, meaning that only the finest objects are on display in elegant and considered presentations. Visitors to the fair are able to buy with confidence, benefiting from the extensive expertise of BADA members, who are individually selected for their knowledge, integrity and rigour.

 

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